Category Archives: Delaware

Delaware

Mental Health Courts

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Lately there have been a disturbing number of news reports about mentally-ill people being shot by police. The need for better training of police to deal with the mentally ill has been amply covered by other blogs. But mentally-ill people who survive their encounter with law enforcement have a chance for better treatment from the court system – and that’s where this blog comes in.

Back in 2008 we touched on two different aspects of court procedure involving people with mental health problems. A court system’s involvement with a mentally ill person may occur when the person is facing involuntary … Read More

Ohio Municipal Courts: More Than Just Municipal

Part of our job here at CourtReference – in addition to making sure that court contact information and links to court websites and other resources are up to date – is to provide a brief explanation of each state’s trial court system. When you select a state on CourtReference, the next page you see has a list of that state’s trial courts, an explanation of each, and a chart showing which types of cases are heard by each court.

Most state trial court systems are fairly simple, with one or two levels of general-jurisdiction courts in each county. We’ve … Read More

Chancery Court

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Unless you live in Delaware, Mississippi, or Tennesse, you may not be familiar with the term Chancery Court. But Chancery Courts were part of the English judicial system for hundreds of years, were brought to the American colonies, and were part of most U.S. states’ early judicial systems.

The name itself originated outside of the judicial system; in Europe, starting with the Roman Empire, the Chancellor was in charge of government records. When today’s English legal system first began to develop after the Norman Conquest, the Chancery was the public records office, under the direction of the Lord Chancellor. Because … Read More

Non-Lawyer Judges: Municipal Courts

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Last month we discussed judges (Justices of the Peace and Magistrates) who are not required to have law degrees, and whose courts have jurisdiction over areas larger than a city or town. Judges of city, town, village, and other municipal courts in many states are also not required to have law degrees or be practicing lawyers. These judges only have geographical jurisdiction over their own municipality, and in many states their subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to violations of the municipality’s ordinances.

We reviewed New York’s Town Courts and Village Courts in a 2010 post; with over 1200 such courts, … Read More

Non-Lawyer Judges: Justices and Magistrates

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“Justice of the Peace” is an imposing title. Almost like Justice of the Supreme Court? Not quite; A Justice of the Peace presides over a court of limited territorial and subject-matter jurisdiction, and is addressed as “Judge” more often than “Justice”. Justices of the Peace were originally English quasi-judicial officers who volunteered to preserve the “king’s peace” in their local county or borough. Important qualifications for the position were land ownership and connections with the monarchy (and later, with the Lord Chancellor and Parliament).

American colonists brought the Justice of the Peace system with them, and it persisted throughout the … Read More

Public Defenders, Assigned Counsel, and Other Ways Indigent Defendants Get A Lawyer

If you’ve watched more than a handful of crime dramas on TV, you’re familiar with the Miranda warning given when someone is arrested. The exact words may vary a little from state to state, but it’s usually very close to this:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in court. You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees (among other things) that no person may be compelled … Read More

Red Light Camera Tickets Online

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Online payments for traffic and other minor offenses are being adopted by more and more courts and government entities. We’ve previously reviewed online payment systems for traffic citations and other court fines in general and in North Carolina, and for parking tickets.

Red light camera tickets may also be paid online in some jurisdictions. Where red light cameras are used, the evidence that a driver ran a red light is a photograph or video. No police testimony is required, so most online red light camera ticket payment systems allow the driver to view the evidence before paying the … Read More

Interactive Maps for Everyone

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If you are looking online for a map either for a city, county or state, there is a good chance that there will be an interactive GIS (Geographic Information System) map that will meet your needs.  GIS maps are interactive maps that combine geographic information with a variety of data such as assessed values, neighborhood information, political boundaries, crime statistics, utilities, natural features, topography, police and fire services including many more categories. 

Not too many years ago, GIS maps were still in the development phase and available only at a limited number of agencies.  However, GIS maps are now wonderful … Read More

Foreclosure Mediation Provides Hope for Homeowners in Growing Number of States

State court systems are stepping in to help minimize the damage from the residential mortgage foreclosure crisis. Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Ohio are among those that have implemented statewide foreclosure mediation programs. A number of other states are currently considering legislation to create foreclosure mediation programs, and many cities and courts have put in place local programs.

All 88 Ohio counties now use foreclosure mediation in handling foreclosure cases on their dockets. Through these programs, a neutral mediator works with homeowners and lenders to resolve the mortgage problem by mutual agreement. Such mediation can … Read More

What is E-Filing?

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If you are involved in a lawsuit, you (or your attorney) will likely need to file many documents with the court. This can include an initial summons and complaint as well as various motions and notices requesting actions from the court or opposing party. All these filed documents can add up to piles and piles of paper. Furthermore, whenever a paper is filed with a court, this requires the filer to go down to the courthouse in person to present the document to the clerk of court. Although this is a tradition that is mostly accepted as a part of … Read More